tv MSNBC Special Coverage MSNBC March 20, 2012 8:00pm-9:00pm PDT
and that's what we've been using. and that's all the time we have for this tonight. i want to thank karen finney, jasmine finney, thank you all for joining me tonight. a live ed show is up next. good evening, americans, and welcome to "the ed show" tonight from new york, mitt romney has won the illinois republican primary this evening. he spoke to reporters in a chicago suburb and went after president obama as a person who doesn't share the same values. >> our future's brighter than these troubled times. we still believe in america, and we deserve a president who believes in us, and i believe in the american people. >> romney shifted into the general election mode with his big win in illinois. he turned his attention to the president's past experience as a law professor. >> yesterday, i was giving a speech at the university of chicago, not very far from here, not very far from where
professor barack obama taught law. it was a speech on economic freedom. for 25 years i lived and breathed business and the economy and jobs. i had successes and failures, but each step of the way, i learned a bit more about what it is that makes our american system so powerful. you can't learn that teaching constitutional law at university of chicago, all right? >> romney really went after the president. he brought up the president's academic background several times and made it a key part of his closing message. >> we once led the world in manufacturing, in exports, investment, today we lead the world in lawsuits, you know, when we replace a law professor with a conservative businessman as president, that's going to end. >> rick santorum came out on the losing end of things tonight, but he spoke with supporters in
pennsylvania and tried to spin some positive news. >> we're going to win down state, we're going to win central illinois, western illinois, we won the areas conservatives and republicans populate, we're happy about that. we're happy about the delegates we're going to get too. >> romney and his allies outspent santorum 7-1 in illinois, and apparently it turned out big time. chuck todd, thanks for burning the midnight oil tonight. >> you got it, buddy: >> the big takeaway from this tonight, someone that's a novice news consumer, what's the headline read after tonight? >> well, i think romney's a step closer. he's on his way, he's still not put the period at the end of the sentence of presumptive nominee, and he's been to this point before, just one more win to put the exclamation point, the period, whatever you want to
say, whatever punctuation mark you want to use to end this campaign and end this chapter and every time he's about to it's when santorum wins something else, this something else would be wisconsin. illinois could have been the period or exclamation point had romney won illinois -- romney won mississippi last week. i want to make a few points. number one, look at newt gingrich tonight. he is sitting in fourth place, ed, not third place, fourth place. this is a campaign that is sinking fast, and i think you see conservative voters in the state of illinois, basically are no longer viewing newt as a viable option. that's good and bad for santorum, because he basically got his two-man race. even if you add the newt vote to santorum, what little there was tonight, it still wouldn't have been enough to beat romney in illinois, but let me show you why. illinois, if you look at it, is a state romney fit a lot better. this is only been seven states
so far that we've had primaries in where you've had moderates, liberal or moderate republicans outnumber very conservative republicans. in fact, to take it a step further, illinois was basically the fourth most moderate republican primary state we've had so far, the only one with more moderate voters and less conservative voters were new hampshire, massachusetts, michigan, and vermont, all states romney won, so this was as much about demographics and ideology for mitt romney tonight in that he just fit the state of illinois. the question is, can he sort of take this momentum and in two weeks from now sweep april 3rd, make wisconsin the period or exclamation point, and then you will hear republicans around the country start calling for santorum to stop this. santorum wins it, that's a different story. >> does santorum have to win in louisiana and wisconsin, and looking at louisiana after tonight's win, it seems like people are starting to lean
towards mitt romney as he continues to build up states. would that put him in a better position to pick up, possibly, louisiana? >> i would be surprised, because if you just look at it on the demographics, there's nothing in the exit poll that tells me somehow romney's making progress with that core conservative vote that continues to sort of reject romney, and that is -- that is what louisiana is, louisiana is a lot more like mississippi or an alabama or an oklahoma than it's going to be in illinois, so i will be shocked if romney somehow wins or even comes close in louisiana, and if he does, if he does, i do think that's, once again, the beginning of the end. this very well be the beginning of the end tonight for santorum as romney tries to bring this nomination plane in for a landing, but i ultimately think for santorum, it's a one-state strategy at this point, it's all about wisconsin, he's got to win louisiana, wisconsin, if he doesn't win there, that's it. april is going to be a sweep outside of pennsylvania, and at
that point you're going to hear republicans say enough is enough, rick santorum, time to rally around romney, he's going to be the nominee. >> when you look at that part of the country, it is kind of santorum's backyard, he did not win ohio, he did not win michigan, and tonight he did not win illinois and he's appealing to those middle classers out there, he's on the manufacturing stump and here comes a wall streeter in mitt romney and he wins those states. i think, image-wise, it weakens santorum. >> no, it does, and that's why santorum needed something tonight. this is always tough, though, illinois is not like the rest of the midwest. my dad grew up in iowa, my mom grew up in illinois, he used to say illinois is not the real midwest, iowa is the real midwest, it's nothing more than junior new york with that big city chicago in it, it was sort of half of a joke, so with all due respect to illinois, and there's, obviously, lots of it that are very much rural and
midwest, agricultural communities and all that, but wisconsin will be a, you know, if santorum can't be romney in wisconsin, where is he going to beat him in a non-southern area? where is it going to happen? look at his win map here, right, santorum is in purple, romney's in green. wisconsin is sort of halfway, you know, sitting in between where he's done well as you sort of go into this, in your neck of woods there, the dakotas and more of the agricultural midwest while romney has eked out these wins in the industrial west, so wisconsin's got a little bit of both in it. >> chuck todd, great to have you with us, thanks so much. now let's turn to howard fineman, nbc news political analyst and editorial director of "the huffington post" and steve schmidt, served as a senior adviser to senator john mccain's presidential campaign. howard, what are you hearing from the campaigns tonight in the wake of this? >> well, i think the santorum
campaign thinks that, at best, there's a semicolon, neither a period or exclamation point, there's another half of the sentence, and they think the next half of the sentence are some of the states chuck was talking about, louisiana and wisconsin, but also they had a long conference call today, earlier today, ed, that i was on in which the santorum people were lay bore yously going over the places rick santorum can end up winning more delegates than you might think because he's going to do well at the district, county, state conventions in states such as iowa, missouri, colorado, minnesota, states that had beauty pageant caucus and primary votes but where the real, hard, nitty gritty work of getting the delegates is only now happening. santorum were spending a lot of time on that earlier today because they knew what would happen in illinois tonight. it was a big victory for romney
in illinois. some thought the margin was going to shrink, i don't think that's going to happen. and for the romney people, the key thing is, as of right now if you look at our numbers on the screen, mitt romney has won at least 38 delegates, rick santorum has won zero. >> steve, when is the party going to call it quits for this primary and throw all their support to mitt romney, and i know there's been a lot of conversation on our coverage about how gingrich is taken away votes from santorum, and as chuck todd pointed out, that really wasn't the case, if he got all gingrich's votes, santorum did, he still wouldn't have beaten mitt romney, so does that mean anything tonight? >> we're not there yet. rick santorum has signalled he's going to continue to go on, ed, the pennsylvania primary is five weeks away, he's indicated he's going to compete in the pennsylvania primary. i think mitt romney took a step forward tonight. he's taken a lot of steps back
as we come through these tuesday nights, but the race is going to continue to go on. >> howard, what is newt gingrich going to do at this point, he had a -- for lack of a better term -- a horrible showing tonight considering his name recognition in the political arena. >> there are not many place ahead you can see him doing well, maybe he hopes to get votes in louisiana, for example, but he's running out of places and not had a rational for a long time, earlier tonight steve used the term delusional, i've used that term too as it relates to newt gingrich. newt and his wife are enjoying the attention they are getting, symbolic with where his head is at at this point, one day he's taking it very seriously, the next day he's not. but i don't see him dropping out. maybe down the line if mitt romney, as could well happen, doesn't amass the 1,144
delegates he needs by the end of the primary season in june, then newt gingrich will be able to say, you know, i've got about 50 delegates here, i can put you over the top, what kind of deal are you willing to make and i'm sure mitt romney will be willing to listen. >> how important is louisiana, steve? >> well, i think it's important if mitt romney wins it. i think rick santorum is expected to win it, so as long as everything goes down like we expect it do go down, i don't think it's that important. rick santorum has to win in states he's not expected to win in to keep momentum going forward as we look out for the remainder of this contest. >> what would that be, would wisconsin be that state? >> wisconsin could be that state, when you get then into may, you start to look at texas, you start to look at north carolina, you look at the calendar in april, looks nice for mitt romney. you get into a contest in may, it's a little bit more favorable terrain-wise, to santorum, but
he needs to have a win in april in this late march period, no doubt about it. >> the long run in all of this, the barbs back and forth between one another are getting a little nastier, howard, this long primary, is it taking a toll on the republicans? >> yes, but i don't think irreparably so, i really don't. the dramatic fact here is mitt romney is sort of carrying out a hostile takeover of what we considered to be a sort of southern-based, evangelical-driven, modern republican party. after all, ronald reagan and the bush family built it out of the south, based in the south, based on religious activists and so forth in the modern republican party as we know it, yet mitt romney isn't winning any of those states, and so even though he has a majority of the delegates, i mean, most of the lead in delegates and the lead in money and the lead in votes, and even though he's crawling
his way towards the nomination and probably will get it, he's going to get it without the act of support of what had been considered the base of the party. that means that toward the end of the process of voting and in the months of june, july, and august leading up to the convention, he's going to have to figure out how, it seems to me, to unite the party, and that will be the difficult and tricky part, but if he's got the diplomatic skills to do it, then he's got the diplomatic skills to be president. if he doesn't and it stays divided, then it truly will be a disaster for the party. >> finally, gentlemen, this man's name never gets mentioned, but his name is up there every night, do i dare bring of ron paul and ask what's his program, steve? >> all along paul hasn't been running to win an election, i think he's been running to build a movement and i think he will have accomplished some of that this turn, he'll have done better than he did last time, and i think he has a movement, it will be interesting to see
how his son, senator rand paul, assumes leadership in years to come. >> howard fineman, steve schmidt, always a pleasure, great to have you with us tonight. coming up, more analysis of tonight's primary in illinois. we'll hear from rick santorum's press secretary, alex stewart, about what's next for the candidate, and msnbc analyst michael steele and eugene robinson weigh s in. later, more details in the trayvon martin case, his girlfriend describes their conversation just before he was killed, reverend al sharpton and charles blow from the new york times join me on that tonight. stay with us, we're right back.
welcome back to "the ed show." tonight was a big win for mitt romney in the state of illinois, and it raises questions about whether rick santorum has any real shot of being a factor in this race anymore. this was rick santorum tonight. >> all it boils down to one word, and that's what's at stake in this election, and it's right behind me on that banner and
it's the word freedom. i was pleased to hear, before i came out, governor romney is now adapting that theme as his speech tonight. i am glad we are moving the debate here in the republican party. >> freedom, well, it's also about delegates, but santorum may be running out of opportunities to move the debate in this race. many of the big contests coming up are favorable to mitt romney, an upset by santorum tonight might have changed the dynamic, but that didn't happen. i'm joined tonight by alice stewart, press secretary for rick santorum's campaign. alice, good to have you with us tonight, but before we get to tonight's results, i want to ask you about the ryan plan that came out today, mitt romney is on record saying he supports it, and i'm not quite sure if i understand if rick santorum is behind the plan that was put out today. can you clarify that for us? >> rick had a conversation with
congressman ryan earlier and he supports the idea behind reigning in government spending, and he supports many aspects of it, there are some he doesn't agree with, but he supports the overall idea of reducing government spending and is fully supportive of that. >> in general, we would take that as an answer that rick santorum is supporting the ryan plan? >> as i said, there are certain aspects of the plan he's supportive of, some he doesn't necessarily agree with, but the overall idea of reducing government spending is something rick has always been supportive of and a key aspect of this campaign. as he said, freedom is a big part of this campaign and that goes with freedom from government spending and is a big aspect that's resinating with the people. >> if rick santorum were president of the united states, would he sign the ryan plan? >> as i said, there's a lot of things that still need to be discussed, a lot of things, as i said, he supports, some things
that he would change, but as i said, the overall premise of reducing government spending is something rick has been supportive of, limited government and reduced government spending is a big facet and something rick has always been supportive of. >> okay, after the aftermath of the win by romney, where does it leave santorum, is he still viable? >> certainly, this is a marathon, not a sprint. people thought he'd run away with alabama and mississippi, but we overperformed in those states, it's been back and forth all along. certainly, we would have preferred to do much better this evening, but this is a long road ahead. we're about at the halfway point in this. we've got some good states coming up, louisiana will be favorable to rick, pennsylvania certainly will, texas, so we're looking at the states we have ahead, and the good thing what we're seeing is rick's message is resinating with people, we're having conservatives line up behind him. in illinois, the fact mitt romney didn't run further away
from this is just astounding. he outspent rick 20-1 in the city of chicago, 21-1, and that's where many of the votes came from. we focussed on the more conservative areas outside the larger cities and did well in those areas, but the fact is, mitt romney is not energizing the people, he should be running away in every single state, but he's not. people are recognizing the fact rick is the consistent conservative in this race and we're picking up state after state and many delegates along the way. >> okay, what about wisconsin, and i ask you that for geographical questions, i mean, rick santorum did not win ohio, did not win michigan, did not win illinois, and in that part of the country where middle classers are big and labor and the kind of people that he's talking about when it comes to manufacturing, how important is wisconsin? >> well, every state's certainly important, ed, and what we're hoping is tonight was another
example, as we saw, newt gingrich's poll numbers were very low. we're hoping conservatives and tea party leaders take a look at this very closely, and they need to decide now is the time to rally behind the conservative in this race, that's rick santorum, we need to make this a two-man race and that's what conservative and tea party folks need to do in wisconsin, we need this to narrow down to a two-man race and with that we'll no doubt see rick santorum will continue to do well in every state that's left on the calendar. >> narrowing it down to a two-man race, does that mean you want gingrich to get out, ron paul isn't doing much, do you want gingrich out of the race, is it time for him to step aside? >> it's not our place to ask him to get out, but we are asking for conservatives and tea party leaders to rally behind the conservative candidate. we can't afford to have a moderate candidate for the republican party, we can't afford to have a candidate like
mitt romney who's going to have the key issues of the party taken off the table, that goes with obamacare, cap and trade, the wall street bailouts, he can't debate those issues with barack obama and rick santorum can. we need people to rally behind rick santorum. >> final question, i want to get back to the money. with 96% of the vote in, your candidate lost by 100,000 votes tonight. you say he was outspent 21-1 in chicago. is money the difference? if rick santorum had anywhere near equal money to mitt romney, would rick santorum be running away with this? >> well, no doubt, but the fact is, what we're seeing and the fact that we are so outspent and we're still doing so well is that people are recognizing it's about the message and about the man. money has been a tremendous boost for mitt romney, we're still doing well in many states and people are going to recognize they need to stand behind the conservative candida
candidate. >> alice stewart, thank you for your time tonight on "the ed show." good luck to you, appreciate it. next up, mitt romney was tonight's big winner in illinois, but he's losing favorability among more and more undecided voters. msnbc analyst michael steele and eugene robinson will join me. stay tuned.
msnbc news projecting mitt romney will win the illinois primary with 96% of the vote in. looks like he's picking up 69 delegates, at least that's what at stake. the numbers right now, he's at 408,289 with 47% of the vote out of 97% in with 69 delegates at stake. with this vicious race for the republican nomination has taken a toll on his favorability ratings, according to polls, mitt romney's unfavorability ratings are up 13% since he got in the race while his favorability rating stayed flat, which means most undecided voters have decided they don't like mitt. maybe it's the dog story, i don't know. and we still have a long way to go before anyone gets enough delegates to clench the nomination. joining me tonight is msnbc political analyst michael steele, also with us student is associate editor and pulitzer prize winning columnist for the
washington post, eugene robinson. gentlemen, thank you for burning the midnight oil tonight. >> for you, ed, absolutely. >> michael, we're here because of the gop primary rules enacted, which you led the rnc, that's why we're working late. okay, given mitt romney's situation on the numbers that i just showed about favorability ratings and where people are going, is this a tenuous situation in maybe it is hurting the republican brand, what do you think? >> no, it's not that. the process isn't hurting the brand, it is how the candidates are conducting the negative ad campaigns. that's where that drain on the favorability is coming from, it's independents looking at the race and not liking the way the candidate is positioning himself, vis-a-vis the other candidates and the background noise taking the drain. you noted in earlier shows, ed, the downturn in the number of going to the polls, republicans showing up is off by 500,000 or
600,000 since 2008. that's because of this negative thrust, not the process that's the problem, it's the way the campaign is being conducted, the fact that it started off before iowa with $3 million in negative ads against newt and it hasn't stopped. >> eugene, after such a damaging primary, how do any of these candidates turn around and win a general election, and, of course, the women's health issues seems to be looming very big. >> the women's health issue was the party shooting itself in the foot, but look, there is time. i don't doubt, in the end, this is going to be a close election. the republican party does, basically, agree that it does not like barack obama and so i think you'll see a fairly unified party coming out of the convention, determined to wage a competitive campaign in the fall. no, i think the party has done itself a good deal of damage
over the last few months, and it may not recover all the way from that, but they got time to fight. >> michael, should any of these candidates think about getting out right now? >> there's no one centered to do that, the numbers work in their favor. >> even newt? >> even newt. look, because you got probably four states that are left or six states that are left that are winner take all, you're going to have -- everything else is going to be proportional, he's going to grab something, so his fight, as newt said last week, you know, i'm going to contest this all the way to tampa on the convention floor, so there's no one centered for him to get out right now. money notwithstanding, ed, and i know the segment you ran touched on that, but the money piece is not a big factor for newt or santorum because they have message or momentum, even for newt, he's still pulling votes. >> was romney more aggressive on president obama tonight, eugene robinson, than we've seen in the past, i mean, getting into his
academic record, working him over about being a constitutional lawyer? >> this was tough on obama, mitt romney, we've seen this before in some of his earlier victories, but he gets on a streak and he pivots to the general election mode where he hammers obama, that's his speech, and then he gets beaten in the next primary by santorum and he has to pivot again to worry about the republican base, so that's why, you know, but if you recall, we've heard this before. >> the good news is, the dog story isn't hurting him in the polls, so, michael steele, eugene robinson, great to have you with us tonight, thanks so much. coming up, the department of justice ape and fbi are looking into the death of a florida teenager, trayvon martin, details next. later, mitt romney tells the women of america they are on their own when it comes to health care, stay tuned.
we now know what florida teenager trayvon martin was doing in the moments before he was killed by george zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer. the 17-year-old trayvon martin was talking on the phone with his 16-year-old girlfriend. he was not casing houses, as zimmerman suggested. he was coming back to the neighborhood with a bag of skittles and was chased by a vigilante be a 9-millimeter handgun. there's finally been some movement from law enforcement in this case, even though george zimmerman has still not been arrested. the department of justice and the fbi are opening a formal investigation into the killing of trayvon martin. the state attorney has ordered a grand jury to reconvene on april 10th. rick scott has asked for appropriate resources. trayvon's 16-year-old girlfriend told the martin family lawyer about her final call with trayvon.
>> he said this man was watching him, so he put his hoodie on. >> keep in mind, george zimmerman was sitting in the safety and comfort of his suv and then decided to pursue trayvon martin, even though a dispatcher told him not to. the girlfriend told trayvon to run. later on, the girlfriend was still on the phone with trayvon when george zimmerman confronted him. >> trayvon said what are you following me for, and then the man said what are you doing around here, then somebody pushed trayvon, because the headset fell. >> she called right back, but he didn't answer, he had died from a gunshot wound to the chest. here's the martin family lawyer, benjamin crump. >> he kept pursuing trayvon martin, how do we know? this young lady connects the dots. she connects the dots. she completely blows zimmerman's absurd self defense claim out of the water.
we're going to turn this over to the department of justice and their investigation because the family does not trust the stanford police department and anything to do with the investigation. >> and there is more, nbc news believes zimmerman used a racial slur on the 911 call. >> which entrance is that that he's heading towards? >> the back entrance [ bleep ] -- >> let's bring in reverend al sharpton, host of "politics nation" here on msnbc and charles blow, columnist for "the new york times." gentlemen, thanks for your time tonight. gentlemen, a lot has changes in the last 24 hours, the racial slur would be relative to motive, particularly a hate crime. >> i think the racial slur, as well as the phone calls that the mr. zimmerman, the killer in this case had made several reports over the last several months, all of which he
identified race. it seemed as though there was always this preoccupation with race, even some people have said to know him he seemed to really be obsessive on fighting crime and focusing on young black males, all of this would be part of a consideration on a hate crime. and i think that clearly, as you said, that the statements by this young lady blows any self defense. i think it was already blown because he says on the 911 tape that he was pursuing trayvon, that trayvon was not pursuing him, so how's that self defense, but what this young lady and the phone logs showing the times she was speaking to him, will give real credence to her testimony, because they will try in a trial to cross-examine her and blow her statements out, how do they explain the phone logs and the fact he was talking to her at this time, how do you talk to your girlfriend if you're casing out houses to rob and you have
no tools, no weapons, nothing, to do a robbery. i think this is devastating for zimmerman's story. >> charles, if you could compare the girlfriend's account with all the other witnesses, who said that they heard someone crying for help. put this all together for us, what do you think? >> right, her statement is prior to the other 911 call, so there is no overlap between the 911 tapes that we've already heard and the statement that we've heard from the young lady, however, there is -- there does appear to be some overlap between zimmerman's 911 call and what this young lady describes, and some of it is not necessarily joshing the way that it should. for instance, she explains that trayvon notices zimmerman watching him before he puts on his hoodie, well, what you hear zimmerman saying, this guy has on a hoodie and there's some
kind of equivocation on whether or not he can identify race. well, if the kid has his hooded sweatshirt down, you'd definitely know he was black before, when you called 911. >> so based on these phone calls, it is very clear that this man pursued the victim, i mean, absolutely pursued him. how much more evidence does the district attorney need? >> it is absolutely clear, if you are to believe this young lady's testimony and if you listened to what zimmerman is saying himself, he is pursuing trayvon, and this child is trying to get away from him, and the girlfriend is trying to help him figure out a way to get away, whether he will run or whether he will walk fast or whatever the case may be. and what happens is, and this is very important, ed, there becomes an exchange, according to this young lady, where trayvon turns to zimmerman and
says, why are you following me, and that is the opportunity for zimmerman to say, i am in charge of the neighborhood watch, i just want to make sure that you belong here or something to that effect, to identify yourself as the authority and what you are doing following him, because to that child, like any other child, you are a stranger, and we have all taught our children to stay away from strangers and get away from them if they are following you. he does not seize that opportunity, that is a big problem. >> the young martin teenager might have thought he was a sexual predator, anything. >> could have thought he was anything. >> reverend, you're going down there, and i've asked the question on radio, the city commissioners, the mayor, the county commissioners, the police chief, where are these folks? >> well, that's a good question that we're going to raise. not only where are they, if you have 911 tapes where he's saying he's pursuing trayvon, if he, himself, did not do what he said
he would do, the dispatcher, not only when he called 911 tell him we don't need you to follow trayvon, he agreed and did the opposite, then how do you at any point if you're the police let him go the self defense claim when you have 911 tapes that does the opposite of that? that is why he should have been arrested and should still be arrested right now, because there is no evidence to support self defense, even under florida law, because the evidence they have say he was the one pursuing, he was not under threat. if he has any other evidence, then he has to present that at a trial. they can't take his word for that and say, no, let me explain that, because they are allowing him to do what they are not allowing others to do, and that is testify without a trial. >> here's more from the family lawyer today at the press conference. >> why didn't the stanford police department do a drug and alcohol analysis on him?
they did one on trayvon martin who was dead on the ground, why didn't they do it on george zimmerman? you ask yourself, why didn't they take a background check on the man who had just killed this kid in cold blood? they did a background check on trayvon martin. >> if this is true, what does this say about the police investigation, mr. blow? >> well, it does raise a lot of questions and is unsettling to hear that, and like you say, if that is true, it points to the idea that you are assuming that the person who is the victim and is dead is in somehow the aggressor in this case based only on the person who pulled the trigger's word, and that is a very, very disturbing precedent to set, and that says a lot to the community as a whole to say, if you are killed, we will take the killer's opinion over yours, even if death.
that is a very, very interesting kind of comment to make about a dead child. >> and we should point out that abc news reported that the neighborhood watch, zimmerman's neighborhood watch, was not registered, neighborhood watch volunteers are not supposed to be carrying firearms. >> i think the last two things that you said and charles blow said are important, one, i think the department of justice also has to investigate the role of the police and how they behaved and what they did and did not do and why, and, second, you have to question a justice department investigation if a neighborhood watch was not registered, then why were they treating him like he was an official neighborhood watch person and why was he treated in interrogation in that way? >> and this defining the rules of neighborhood watch and responsibilities, i mean, it would seem to me there's going to have to be a full examination of how that program works. >> how it works and how the
and there is late-breaking news out of the state of michigan tonight, the emergency manager in the city of flint, michigan, has been removed by a county judge. the judge ruled the state violated the state's opened meetings law and reinstated mayor dane walling and the city council. this is a major setback for governor rick snyder. when we return, more information on the gop's war on women, karen finney, stay with us, we are right back.
mitt romney wants to defund planned parenthood and told a crowd in illinois that they are on their own when it comes to health care. >> you made it very clear you're not in support of planned parenthood, but i'm just wondering where you would suggest that the millions of women who receive their health services, such as mammograms and hpv vaccines, go. >> well, they can go wherever they would like to go, this is a free society. but here's what i say, which is the federal government should not tax these people to play for planned parenthood. >> i'm joined tonight by karen finney, msnbc political analyst
and director for the congressional national committee. being the communications director, it would seem to me that mitt romney has quite a lift right here explaining to women all over the country. do you think women want to be on their own when it comes to their health care? >> no, absolutely not, and i think women were very encouraged to hear from president obama. essentially what he said was we believe there are a basic level of services in terms of preventative care that should be covered for women and men. there are a whole suite of services that we believe is good medicine, right, for women. essentially what mitt romney is saying, is, i don't really care about that. i don't care about you, i don't care about your health. you're on your own and we'll figure something else out. that's going to be very distressing to a lot of women in a general election. i notice both he and santorum have had their wives at their sides quite a bit over the last
several weeks, i suppose in an attempt to appeal to women. >> romney has also called for title 10 funds to be cut which allocated federal money for family planning, he endorsed the blunt amendment. can he continue to go down this road? how does this play in general, do you think? >> it's certainly going to hurt him in the general. this is part of his attempt to prove to those folks on the right in the primary that, you know, he's really with them. because there's all of this -- there's this whole record that's sort of trailing him that suggests he's been on the other side of the issue. so now he's trying to double down and really prove himself to the saudians. it will be interesting. let's say he's our general election candidate, which i believe all of us believe he will be, let's see what con torsions he tries to go through again in the general election. >> it sounds like he was more concerned about this person's taxes over here than he was about the health care from the
woman asking the question. here's another woman confronting romney at the same rally. >> so you're like yay, freedom, yay pursuit of happiness. do you know what would make me happy? free birth control. >> let me tell you -- look, let me tell you something. if you're looking for free stuff, if you're looking for free stuff you don't have to pay for, vote for the other guy. that's what he's all about, okay? >> how does that play? notice both of the women are of a younger demographic that asked the question. >> that's right. it's a couple things. younger voters in particular really don't like this idea of the government telling them what you can and can't do with their bodies. none of us like that, but younger voters in particular. it's that sort of libertarian streak. but in addition to that, really, ed, it will come back down to our current president believes there are some basic services that we know are good medicine for women for preventative
health care, that he believes women ought to have access to without a co-pay. mitt romney doesn't believe that. that also shows, frankly, as much as he knows owners of football teams and nascar teams, how out of touch he really is with how women are living their lives. >> here's karen santorum on her plan for women's health. >> he's completely supportive of women, he's surrounded by a lot of very strong women, and i think women have nothing to fear. when it comes to contraceptives, he will do nothing on that issue. >> that clearly contradicts what he said. >> he's had his wife by his side since he started getting trouble with women voters. you have these guys talking about these measures and then you've got these state measures that you alluded to